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Volume 3, Issue 180

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  • John N. Lupia
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 24, 2003

      Volume 3, Issue 180
      THURSDAY 25 September 2003

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      * * *

      • Meditation on Psalm 8, Read by Cardinal Sodano
      • Italian Jewish Leader Proposes Pope for Award
      • Vatican and Monaco Launch Initiative to Aid Children
      • Pope's Ailment Not Seen as Serious, Says Vatican Spokesman
      • Church in Venezuela Supports Recall Effort Against Chávez
      • Ex-Chicago Rapper Helping Organize Conference of Converts

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      VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2003 (VIS) - Joaquin Navarro-Valls, Holy See Press
      Office Director, made the following declaration early this morning:

      "Due to intestinal trouble which began yesterday afternoon, the Holy Father will not preside at today's general audience which will take place in the Paul VI Hall.

      "Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Soldano will read the catechesis and will greet and bless the pilgrims in the Pope's name."

      The faithful are reminded to pray daily for the Holy Father.

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      Meditation on Psalm 8, Read by Cardinal Sodano

      Our Grandeur and Responsibility Before Creation

      VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 24, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address prepared by John Paul II for today's general audience. It was read on his behalf by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state. The address is a meditation on Psalm 8.

      1. Meditating on Psalm 8, a wonderful hymn of praise, we arrive at the conclusion of our long itinerary through the Psalms and canticles which constitute the soul of the prayer of the Liturgy of Lauds. During these catecheses our attention was focused on 84 biblical prayers, attempting to highlight especially their spiritual intensity, without neglecting their poetic beauty.

      The Bible, in fact, invites us to begin our day with a song that not only proclaims the wonders worked by God and our response of faith, but that also celebrates them "with art" (see Psalm 46:8), that is, in a beautiful, luminous way, at once gentle and strong.

      Splendid among all is Psalm 8, in which man, immersed in the dark of night, when the moon and the stars light up the immensity of the heavens (see verse 4), feels like a speck in the infinite and limitless spaces that rise above him.

      2. At the heart of Psalm 8, in fact, a double experience emerges. On one hand, the human person feels as though crushed by the grandeur of creation, "work" of the divine "fingers." This curious expression replaces the "work of the hands" of God (see verse 7), as though wishing to indicate that the Creator had made a design or embroidery with the brilliant stars, scattered in the immensity of the cosmos.

      On the other hand, however, God bends over man and crowns him as his viceroy: "You have … crowned them with glory and honor" (verse 6). What is more, to this frail creature he entrusts the whole universe, so that he will draw knowledge and sustenance of life from it (see verses 7-9).

      The extent of man's sovereignty over other creatures is specified, as though evoking the opening page of Genesis: Sheep, oxen, beasts of the field, birds of the sky, and fish of the sea were entrusted to man so that, in giving them their name (see Genesis 2:19-20), he would discover creation's profound reality, respect it, and transform it through labor, revealing it as a source of beauty and life. The Psalm makes us aware of our grandeur, but also of our responsibility before creation (see Wisdom 9:3).

      3. Rereading Psalm 8, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews acquired a more profound understanding of God's plan for man. The vocation of man cannot be limited to the present terrestrial world; in affirming that God has put everything under man's feet, the Psalmist wishes to say that He also wills to subject "the world-to-come" to him (Hebrews 2:5), "the unshakable kingdom" (12:28). In a word, the vocation of man is a "heavenly calling" (3:1). God wills to "bring" to heavenly "glory" "many children" (2:10). For this divine plan to be realized, it was necessary that the vocation of man find its first perfect fulfillment in a "pioneer" (see ibid.). This pioneer is Christ.

      The author of the Letter to the Hebrews observed in this connection that the expressions of the Psalm are applied to Christ in a privileged way, namely in a more precise way than to other men. In fact, in the original the Psalmist uses the verb "to lower [lessen]," saying to God: "Yet you have made them little less that than a god, crowned them with glory and honor" (see Psalm 8:6; Hebrews 2:6). For ordinary men, this verb is incorrect; they were not "lowered" in regard to the angels, as they never were above them. However, for Christ, the verb is precise, because, as Son of God, he was above the angels and was abased when he became man, then he was crowned with glory in his resurrection. Thus Christ has totally fulfilled the vocation of man and has fulfilled it, the author specifies, "for the good of all" (Hebrews 2:9).

      4. In this light, St. Ambrose comments on the Psalm and applies it to us. He begins with the phrase which describes the "crowning" of man: "You … crowned them with glory and honor" (verse 6). In that glory he perceives the reward that the Lord has in store for us when we have overcome the trial of temptation.

      Here are the words of the great Father of the Church in his Exposition of the Gospel according to Luke: "The Lord has also crowned his chosen one with glory and magnificence. That God who desires to distribute the crowns, allows temptations: therefore, when you are tempted, remember that a crown is being prepared for you. If you discard the struggle of martyrs, you also discard their crowns; if you discard their torments, you will also discard their blessedness" (IV, 41: Saemo 12, pp. 330-333).

      God prepares for us that "crown of righteousness" (2 Timothy 4:8) with which he will reward our faithfulness to him, demonstrated even in times of tempest which upset our heart and mind. But, at all times he is attentive to his chosen creature and wants to see the divine "image" shine in him always (see Genesis 1:26), so that he will be a sign of harmony, light and peace in the world.

      [Translation by ZENIT]

      [Following is a summary of the audience, prepared by the Holy See in English]

      Dear Brothers and Sisters,

      Today's Psalm praises the greatness of God and the dignity of man. The Letter to the Hebrews invites us to read certain expressions of the Psalm in relation to Christ. By becoming man, Jesus was "for a little while made lower than the angels" (Hebrews 2:9). Now we see him "crowned with glory and honor." St. Ambrose applies the message of the Psalm to our lives: God helps us to overcome the trials of life, and will lift us up, in Christ, to glory.

      I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today's Audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Australia, Canada, the Philippines and the United States of America. Upon all of you I cordially invoke joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.

      * * *


      VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Alano Maria Pena, O.P., of Nova Friburgo, Brazil as metropolitan archbishop of Niteroi (area 4,722, population 2,094,288, Catholics 1,798,175, priests 109, permanent deacons 17, religiosos 263), Brazil. The archbishop-elect was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1935 and was ordained a priest in 1961 and a bishop in 1975.

      * * *

      Italian Jewish Leader Proposes Pope for Award

      Would Give Him "Righteous Among the Nations" Medal

      ROME, SEPT. 24, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A leader of the Italian Jewish community proposed that the "Righteous Among the Nations" medal be conferred on John Paul II.

      Emmanuelle Pacifici, president of the Yad Vashem Association in Italy, made the proposal today when he addressed a conference on the contribution of religious orders and congregations to the rescue of Jews during World War II.

      "When John Paul II was an aspirant to the priesthood in 1942, he was introduced to a 2-year-old Jewish orphan boy whom he entrusted to a peasant married couple," Pacifici said. "At the end of the war, they brought the child back to him safe and sound, and asked that he baptize him."

      "He who would become Pope, rejected the proposal, saying: 'He is a child and he must continue to be a Jew.' Later I learned that he did everything possible to entrust him to relatives who had gone to the United States. If I knew this child's name, I would give the Pope the medal of the Righteous."

      Yad Vashem honors as "Righteous Among the Nations" those non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust, often at great personal risk.

      Offering his own life testimony, Pacifici said that if he survived the Nazi persecutions of the war it was thanks "to the great contribution of the religious to the rescue of Jews, not only in Rome, but everywhere."

      "Many of my brothers in religion have never given thanks for this help. Those who helped us, did so by risking their lives," he added.

      "I owe my life to the Franciscan Sisters of Santa Maria in Settignano, near Florence, where I was welcomed and treated as a son," Pacifici recalled. "One of the religious prayed with me the 'Shema Israel.' While I am alive I shall talk about the Shoah [Holocaust] so that it will not be forgotten."

      * * *

      Vatican and Monaco Launch Initiative to Aid Children

      VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 24, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See and the principality of Monaco launched a fund-raising initiative in favor of needy children and victims traumatized by war.

      In this connection, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano and Prince Albert of Monaco will attend a charity dinner on Friday at Rome's Child Jesus Hospital, which is administered by the Holy See and is one of the most prestigious hospitals for children in Europe.

      The project was described on Tuesday by the hospital's president, Francesco Silvano, and by Monaco's ambassador to the Holy See, Henry Fissore.

      The two representatives said that the initiative is only the start of a bilateral effort to assist children. More details are forthcoming.

      * * *

      Pope's Ailment Not Seen as Serious, Says Vatican Spokesman

      Navarro-Valls Indicates Papal Agenda Won't Change for Now

      VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 24, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II's spokesman downplayed the intestinal ailment that prevented the Pope from attending today's general audience.

      "[It] is simply an intestinal indisposition which, moreover, has not been considered as something grave or too serious," said Joaquín Navarro-Valls, director of the Vatican press office. "However, as is normal, the Pope's personal doctor advised him not to come to the Wednesday audience."

      "The Pope did not spend the morning in bed," Navarro-Valls added. "Among other things, he sent a message which was seen on television: The Pope was in his chapel in Castel Gandolfo and greeted the pilgrims."

      Navarro-Valls confirmed on Vatican Radio that "the whole program of activities of the Holy Father, which from now on is quite intense, remains unaltered for the time being."

      The Pope's agenda indicates he is due to return to the Vatican on Friday from the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. On Saturday, he is scheduled to preside at a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for the repose of the souls of Popes Paul VI and John Paul I.

      On Oct. 7, John Paul II is scheduled to go to the Shrine of the Virgin of Pompeii, near Naples, where he will pray the rosary for world peace.

      Also scheduled are the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of his pontificate, which will culminate on Oct. 19 with the beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

      "So, quite an intense program in which, for the time being, there is no change," Navarro-Valls stressed.

      The Vatican spokesman ended by recalling Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano's invitation to pray for the Pope. Navarro-Valls added that from the "information I have been given by the Pope's doctor, these prayers can be said with calmness."

      * * *

      Church in Venezuela Supports Recall Effort Against Chávez

      CARACAS, Venezuela, SEPT. 24, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Venezuela's Catholic bishops are lending their support for a recall referendum on President Hugo Chávez.

      Archbishop Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo of Merida, president of the episcopal conference, published a reply Tuesday on behalf of the bishops to the "great insults committed by the president of the nation, Hugo Chávez."

      After referring to the country's grave political and economic crisis, the statement calls for the urgent holding of a recall referendum, as provided in the Constitution.

      "There will be no social peace in Venezuela if confidence in public powers is not restored," it states. "The real participation of all citizens is necessary in making the important decisions that affect the life and future of the country."

      "Therefore, given the very antagonistic positions, there is an urgent need for a popular consultation that restores confidence and tranquility to the country, and that institutions and legitimacy are reinforced," the statement adds. "To effect this, there is in the present juridical ordering the possibility of a constitutional way out: the recall referendum."

      Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Venezuelan lawmakers traded blows during a marathon debate on Supreme Court reforms that the opposition fears could weaken its bid for a vote to recall Chávez.

      The acrimonious all-night debate in the National Assembly, which was suspended until Thursday, reflected political tensions gripping the nation as it waited for electoral authorities to set regulations for a referendum.

      * * *

      Ex-Chicago Rapper Helping Organize Conference of Converts

      October Event in Spain Is Precursor for a Congress in Austria

      MADRID, Spain, SEPT. 24, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A former Chicago rap musician is helping to organize a Congress of Converts in Avila next month.

      The Oct. 11-12 event, organized by the international Catholic association Miles Iesu, will serve as a forerunner to the annual international congress, which will take place this year in Vienna, Austria, in November. Among those who will attend in Vienna is John Gummer, a member of the British Parliament and president of Miles Iesu.

      Among the organizers is David Rey, a consecrated member of Miles Iesu. The 27-year-old former rap musician explained his own conversion to the Veritas news agency.

      Son of a Muslim father and a Christian mother, his first step toward conversion took place when his mother divorced his father because he would not allow her to celebrate Christmas, Rey said.

      "At first I defended the Protestant church, but I found the truth in the Catholic Church, after reading the Bible, listening to priests, thinking and praying," Rey said.

      When reading Jesus' words in Chapter 6 of the Gospel according to John -- "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day" -- Rey thought: "'Eternal life' are very strong words -- you can't fool around with eternal life."

      Another participant in Avila will be Father Paul Vota, also of Miles Iesu, who is a former follower of New Age.

      Rey said that when Vota heard one of the New Age gurus say, "I am God the Father incarnate," and saw young followers of the sect kiss the guru's feet, Vota thought that the man was either God or the devil.

      Vota was convinced that the guru was not God and he began to study the Bible. His spiritual journey was crowned by his priestly ordination, which he received from John Paul II.

      * * *


      Chapter One (Continued)

      Leclerq points out that the Life of St. Benedict, one of the two basic texts of monasticism, provides the basis for people to pursue seeking God through conversion.

      The second text is the Rule of St. Benedict. In the Rule can be seen the two elements of learning and the search for God as seen his Life by St. Gregory.

      “The fundamental fact that stands out in this domain is that one of the principle occupations of the monk is lectio divina, which includes meditation: meditari aut legere (to meditate or read). (cf. Rule 48.23)

      All of the monks are supposed to know how to read and write. Each monastery is to have a library where monks can take a book. Reading in the refectory or monastery dinning room is included in the Rule.

      “Lectio and Meditatio” (18-22).

      During the Middle Ages monks read aloud hearing the “voices of the pages”. However, they also read silently or in a low voice implied by the Rule when it says “tacite legere” or “legere sibi”, and “according to St. Augustine: “legere in silentio”, as opposed to the “clara lectio”. But most frequently, when “legere” and “lectio” are used without further explanation, they mean an activity which, like chant and writing, requires the participation of the whole body and the whole mind. Doctors of ancient times used to recommend reading to their patients as a physical exercise on an equal level with walking, running or ball-playing.” (19).

      “The fact that the text which was being composed or copied was often written to dictation given aloud, either to oneself or to a secretary, satisfactorily explains the errors apparently due to hearing in medieval manuscripts.” (19). (cf. Henry John Chaytor (1871-1954), “The Medieval Reader and Textual Criticism,” Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 26 (1941-42): 49-56; Josef Balogh (1893-1944), “ Voces paginarum. Beiträge zur Geschichte des lauten Lesens und Schreibens,” Philologus 82 (1927): 84—109 und 202—240.).

      Verbalization was not divorced from visualization. “The latter was accompanied spontaneously by the movement of the lips, and the lectio divina was necessarily an active reading.” (20).

      Jean Leclerq, O.S.B., The Love of Learning and the Desire For God. A Study of Monastic Culture. (NY: Fordham University Press, 1961, 1974) ISBN 0-8232-0406-5

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      3. Today's Lectionary Readings Text

      Biblica Online

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      Monks of Adoration:

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      5. Polish Rosary Hour by the Conventual Franciscans

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      Our Father Movie

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      Color Photograph of Mama Gili, Biography and Prayers

      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 1)

      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 2)

      Need a Miracle?

      Dolores Immacolata "Mama" Gili (1892-1985)


      The Mama Gili Guild was established several years ago to gather, collect, and publish information on Dolores Immacolata Gili (1892-1985) for an investigation into her cause as a Servant of God, as well as to promote her cause and to perpetuate her cult by directing prayer groups assembled in her honor. It has continuously enjoyed the ecclesiastical approval of Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, and the Most Reverend John Joseph Myers, Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey.

      Call or write today regarding favors granted through the intercession of Dolores Immacolata "Mama" Gili, or, for more information about the cause of her investigation for canonization to:

      Rev. Dante DiGirolamo, Director
      Mama Gili Guild
      P. O. Box 455
      Kearny, New Jersey 07032
      Phone (973) 412-1170
      Fax (973) 412-7011

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      The Benedictine monks of Abbaye Saint-Joseph de Clairval mail a free monthly newsletter to anyone who requests it. Also free of charge are: the tract about the divinity of Jesus Christ; tract about the Truths of the Catholic Religion; scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, with explanatory notice; the promises of the Sacred Heart; the mysteries of the Rosary.

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      10. Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ. English Trans. Online

      Thomas a Kempis, De Imitatione Christi. Latin Text Online

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      When the Eucharistic host is elevated at Mass say:

      "Eternal Father, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you the crucified Body of Your dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in reparation for all the sins committed against you and for the conversion and salvation of the whole world."

      When the Eucharistic chalice is elevated at Mass say:

      "Eternal Father, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you the precious Blood of Your dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in reparation for all the sins committed against you and for the conversion and salvation of the whole world."

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      "during this important time, as the eve of the new millennium approaches unity among all Christians of the various confessions will increase until they reach full communion." John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 16

      "Keep close to the Mother of God as if you were the child Jesus clinging to her robes while walking down a dusty and busy crowded street and you'll always be safe."

      * * *

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